Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Memory: Omarska

Omarska is the site of the infamous concentration camp of the same name. During the war, it was a site of torture, sexual abuse and murder. Today, an Anglo-Indian mining corp, Mittal Steel has brought the land.

Omarska is a part of history, not just Bosnian history, but all of our history. As such, it is important that there is a way to remember what occurred at Omarska as well as ensuring the economic viability of the region today.

The buying of the Omarska mine by the Mittal Steel company has brought to the surface the potent question of how to memorialize and remember the atrocities that occurred, while also providing for the continued economic revitalization of the region.

In my opinion, it is absolutely essential that a memorial be preserved at the location of the Omarska camp. It acknowledges the atrocities that occurred there and the suffering of the victims. By creating a memorial; we not only respect and remember the victims of Omarska; but ensure that future generations will also get the opportunity to learn about what happened in Omarska.

Beyond a physical memorial, I also believe that there are non tangible memorials we can create to remember the victims of Omarska. Perhaps an program to help economically disadvantaged survivors and family members. In my opinion, these non traditional memorials will also be able to serve the community, while reminding people of the reason the memorial exist in the first place.

Reconciliation is essential, but reconciliation cannot exist without acknowledgement that atrocities occurred here. Reconciliation cannot exist without acknowledging the ethnic cleansing campaign that occurred in the region. A permanent memorial to the victims of Omarska, as well as non traditional memorial to help both the survivors and surrounding community members will assure that the atrocities that occurred in Omarska will be remembered by future generations.

Omarska Memorial

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